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Metal Braces

Metal brackets can be silver or golden. The golden brackets look a bit more "jewelry-like" and are often a popular choice with young women.

Metal brackets are very strong and can withstand most types of treatment. At first they may irritate your gums, but after a few weeks, when your cheeks get "toughened up" they are not a problem anymore. Most traditional metal braces require an elastic o-shaped rubber band, called a ligature to hold the arch wire onto the bracket. Sometimes orthodontists use metal tie wires (little wires which are twisted around the bracket) in place of elastic ligatures.

In the "old days", metal braces were not just brackets, but bands that wrapped around the entire tooth. Nowadays, people wear small metal brackets that are glued to the front of each tooth (a big improvement!) Those old-fashioned bands are usually reserved for molars or teeth with fillings that spill to the outside surface of a tooth. Metal brackets tend to be less expensive than other types of brackets. In addition, you can make them colorful with ligatures that come on a rainbow of colors.

The younger or more adventurous set may be interested in orthodontic metal brackets that come in interesting shapes like hearts, flowers, footballs, baseballs, and stars.

Pros

  • Metal brackets tend to be the least expensive of all the types of braces.
  • They tend to take the least amount of time among all the types of braces.
  • You can choose a darker ligature, which will not show curry, smoking, or black coffee stains.
  • Self-ligating brackets do not contain rubber ligatures, so staining will never be a problem.
  • They are strong and rarely break.
  • The golden brackets are different, novel,  and generally look nice.
  • Viazis Brackets and self-ligating brackets can complete treatment in a shorter time with less pain; however orthodontists need special training in these systems, and they not available everywhere.

Cons

  • They are more visible than ceramic and Invisalign (the traditional "metal mouth.")
  • They tend to be a bit less comfortable at first, (but that feeling wears off after a  couple of weeks).
  • When you have a canker sore, they tend to irritate your gums more than ceramic brackets.
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